MDIF Ventures

Investing in young digital media with impact

MDIF Ventures offers equity investment to young and growing media companies with a positive social impact and potential to scale. It focuses on projects located or serving audiences in countries where access to free and independent news and information is under threat.

MDIF Ventures has so far invested approximately $1 million in 9 early-stage companies in 7 countries, including Nigeria, Pakistan and Colombia. It is currently closed for applications.

Key features

  • Invests in countries where free and independent news and information is under threat, and exceptionally in global projects benefitting audiences in those countries
  • Invests in projects addressing accountability, strengthening debate or reducing information poverty
  • Targets companies along the early-stage spectrum, from pre-seed (“friends and family” / angel) to growth / Series A rounds
  • May choose to make follow-on investments in existing investees
  • Builds on the successes of Digital News Ventures, which invested $3.8 million in early-stage media 2012-15, the South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) and Amplify Asia

Selection of MDIF Ventures and other early-stage investments


Country: Brazil
Type: Digital is a Brazilian citizen-to-government engagement platform enabling greater collaboration and information-sharing between local authorities and citizens.

dataphyte logo

Country: Nigeria
Type: Digital

Dataphyte is a media and data analytics company that provides knowledge products and services, databases and analysis, helping users to generate value from data and socio-economic insights.

datasketch logo

Country: Colombia
Type: Digital

Datasketch allows small organizations and individuals to have access to data visualization tools and facilitates knowledge-sharing to promote informed debates over public issues.


Country: India
Type: Digital

Gram Vaani builds participatory media networks that empower communities. Its leading product is a voice-based social media platform for India’s rural poor.

katadata logo

Country: Indonesia
Type: Digital

Katadata is the go-to source of news, analysis and data on Indonesian business and economic affairs. Katadata makes complex subjects quickly comprehensible for time-pressed users.

Malaysiakini Logo

Country: Malaysia
Type: Digital & TV

Malaysiakini is the leading political news site in Malaysia. For more than 20 years its independent coverage has played a vital role in Malaysia’s political life.

Mic Logo

Country: USA
Type: Digital

Mic was a digital news and media platform targeting millennials with 20 million monthly users. Seeking to learn digital lessons transferable to other parts of the world, MDIF invested in Mic’s angel round in 2012.

my News logo

Country: Brazil
Type: Digital

Based in Sao Paulo, MyNews is an independent journalism channel that provides information on the economy, politics, sports and other topics.

Puma Podcast Logo

Country: The Philippines
Type: Audio

PumaPodcast is a podcast and audio production company. Streaming content since 2019, its podcasts range from insightful news and deep-dive documentaries to fun lifestyle topics.

Zitamar News Logo

Country: Mozambique
Type: Digital

Zitamar News is an investigative news website and newsletter with local and national news. It has quickly become a vital and well-respected part of the Mozambican news scene.

Eligibility for MDIF Ventures financing

MDIF Ventures is currently closed for applications. There are strict eligibility conditions for participation. Applicants must be:

  • Commitment to the provision of unique, credible, independent news, reducing information poverty, addressing accountability, or strengthening debate in the public interest.
  • Commitment to fostering democratic practices and institutions, political pluralism, transparency, human rights, and dignity and equal rights for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion and other subjects of discrimination.
  • Ownership must be independent from the government or any other political or economic interests. (May be waived if the level and nature of such ownership do not put the applicant’s editorial independence in question.)
  • Located in or serve an audience in countries where access to free and independent news and information is under threat. MDIF Ventures is not able to consider applications from Russia.


MDIF Ventures will consider applications from across the world, serving primarily audiences in countries where access to independent news and information is under threat. However, there are some jurisdictions where we are not able to operate, such as Russia.

The amount we invest in each deal is dependent on many factors, including: stage of company development, total round-size and location. When applying, please provide the total amount of money you are raising and how much of the round has already been raised (if any).

No, MDIF Ventures does not provide grants or loans. It provides equity investments in selected media companies, taking an ownership stake.

MDIF Ventures is currently closed for applications.

While MDIF Ventures invests in projects serving audiences of non-English speakers, the application itself should be in English.

If your round is closing soon, let us know in the application form. However, please do expect that our application assessment as well as candidate and investment approval processes do take a few weeks to months.

MDIF has made early stage investments in leading independent companies worldwide, indluding Katadata, Malaysiakini, Mic, Colab, Volume, Seen/Hashtag Our Stories and Onion Dev/Gram Vaani.

MDIF Ventures’ investees include DataphytePumaPodcast, and The Current.

If you have a question about the process or MDIF Ventures itself, please contact us by email.

Do you want to provide funding or support to this program?

Find more information here on how to make a meaningful contribution.

News from this program